Penn State Preview: Rutgers

Penn State remains on track for a 10-win season and will look to get win No. 9 on the year when it faces Rutgers on Saturday. Photo Credit: Steve Manuel

Each week, we’ll tell you what to expect, what to keep an eye, and where and when you can catch the Nittany Lions this football season.

Game details: 3:30 p.m. kickoff, at Rutgers, broadcast on Big Ten Network.

Venue: SHI Stadium (52,454.

Weather forecast (via Accuweather): High of 41. Sunny to partly cloudy, breezy and chilly; coldest air so far this season; feeling like January, so dress warmly if you’re going to be in attendance for the game.

The Line: Penn State -19.5.

All-Time Series: Penn State leads 30-2.

Last week: Penn State blanked Maryland, 30-0. Rutgers fell at Michigan State, 27-21.

Last meeting (2021): With a flu-bug taking its toll on the team, including starting quarterback Sean Clifford, backup Christian Veilleux led the Nittany Lions to a gritty 28-0 win over the Scarlet Knights in a late November clash. Jahan Dotson, Parker Washington and Malick Meiga caught touchdown passes and Keyvone Lee ran for a score for the Nittany Lions. Veilleux completed 15 of 24 passes for 235 yards.

The Lead: The 33rd meeting between Penn State and Rutgers sees both schools competing with plenty to play for. If Penn State can beat Rutgers and then Michigan State next week on Senior Day, a New Year’s Six berth is a strong possibility. Rutgers, meanwhile, can earn a bowl bid with a win over the Nittany Lions and then another over Maryland in the finale.

Penn State comes into this one with plenty of momentum, notching back to back resounding victories against Indiana and Maryland. The offense has been efficient in those wins and the defense has been suffocating. Penn State followed up 16 tackles for loss and six sacks against the Hoosiers with nine tackles for loss and seven sacks against Maryland, it marks the first time since 2007 that the Nittany Lions have recorded six or more sacks in back-to-back games.

Much like the previous two games on the schedule, this one heavily favors Penn State. The Nittany Lions are playing some of their best football of the season, using the combination of an explosive rushing attack and dominant defense. That typically paves the way for success in the cold days of November.

Greg Schiano has Rutgers on the right track, however, this one shouldn’t be close.

Keep An Eye On: Juice Scruggs. It’s not as easy to watch a center from afar as it is a quarterback or running back, but Penn State’s snapper deserves praise and attention. Penn State’s offensive line has been an improved unit this season, despite some injury troubles. Scruggs has played a huge part in that.

Check out this great feature from Sports Illustrated writer and Penn State alum Mark Wogenrich on Scruggs’ importance to the offense.

Big Ten Schedule:

– Illinois at No. 3 Michigan (Noon. ABC)

– Wisconsin at Nebraska (Noon. ESPN)

– Northwestern at Purdue (Noon. FS1)

– Indiana at Michigan State (Noon. BTN)

– No. 11 Penn State at Rutgers (3:30 p.m. BTN)

– No. 2 Ohio State at Maryland (3:30 p.m. ABC)

– Iowa at Minnesota (4 p.m. FOX)

Roar Tour: Penn Staters can also join in Piscataway this weekend for our Roar Tour event before the Nittany Lions face Rutgers. Get all the details for our Roar Tour regular season finale here. We hope to see you there.

Penn State In The Polls: Penn State jumped up to No. 11 in the College Football Playoff rankings. The Nittany Lions received the same ranking in the AP Poll. The USA Today Coaches Poll placed Penn State at No. 12.

Trivia Tidbit: Fourteen Penn State players have at least one sack this season, which is tied for the most among Power Five teams.

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